An appreciation written by Murrays’
friend, Gina Riner
Elmer Walter Murray hit the highway to heaven at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. He lived his entire life of 103 years in Healdsburg, and 100 years in the same house.
His mother Lillie and her family traveled via covered wagon from Lander, Wyoming in 1898, and arrived in Healdsburg in 1900. His father Elmer came to Healdsburg in 1909 after leaving the Navy. Walter was born in Healdsburg on the morning of Dec. 24, 1912. Dr. J. Walter Sewell, who Walter was named after, drove by horse and buggy the night before to stay with his mother Lillie until Walter arrived around 9 a.m. Christmas Eve. When Walter was three and a half years old, his parents purchased a lot on Healdsburg Ave., (then called West St.) and they, with his uncle, Roy Nickerson, built the family home. His parents had Walter drive the first nail so he would always remember his part in building the family home. The Murray family was devoted to God, family, friends and work. When Walter was eight years old his grandfather, Sage Coe Nickerson, a Civil War veteran, lived with the family for 14 years. During his lifetime many cousins and other relatives also lived with the Murray family.
Walter started working when he was six years old and didn’t stop until he was 101. His first entrepreneurial venture was raising and selling rabbits at age eight. When he was 18 years old he took over the Sunset Laundry from his father and operated that business for 40 years. He kept bees, was a premier red factor canary bird breeder for 70-plus years and built wooden fruit crates for 20 cents an hour.
In 2013, Walter was thrilled to discover that his maternal great-uncle, Herman Gould “Captain” Nickerson, helped found the state of Wyoming, was a signer of the state constitution, was a woman’s suffragist, helped mark the Oregon Trail with historical monuments and was an Indian agent working under the command of Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley to repatriate land for the Arapahoe and Shoshone tribes on the Wind River Reservation.
Walter was a kind, gentle, compassionate and loving person. He was deeply loved by many.
His spirit is carried on by an extended family of cousins and friends from every walk of life. We were blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Walter during his 103 years, among them: Never throw away burlap sacks, coffee cans or denim overalls. Use the burlap to make a soft nest for baby canaries, put nails and tools of all kinds in coffee cans and make a quilt out of your overalls.
Also, if birds and other critters come around put out wild bird seed, plant kale and cut up your homegrown oranges for them.
Save your money “for seed.” Pick up pennies off the street; open a bank account and put money in, not take it out – ever.
Be kind to animals. They are here to protect you, nourish you and provide love and companionship.
Always have a pot of beans on the stove along with bread and a pot of coffee. Share them with “hobos and tramps,” (today we call them homeless), friends and family, the neighbor’s cat and your gardener.
Visit people in nursing homes and hold their hand. Invite new friends to dinner.
Never say mean things about anybody; they are “just waiting for God to speak to them.”
When you wake up in the morning eat your breakfast within 30 minutes, preferably raison bran, blueberries, jumbo raisons and flax seed. And tell yourself all you want is “just another happy day.”
Keep the car keys under the front seat so they don’t get lost.
If a homeless man rings your doorbell and offers to work for you, hand him a pair of gardening gloves and pruners. Then afterwards give him one of the Council on Aging’s “Meals on Wheels.”
Give to charities and churches. Choose to believe the best about what they do with your money, no matter what. At least they are trying to help people.
Those who’ve taken Walter’s lessons to heart will continue to be thrifty, reuse, recycle, save money, be kind to everyone, including animals, visit old folks, make sure the hungry have a sandwich or at least some beans and the homeless have a place to stay, even if its under the redwood tree in your backyard.
Walter was a devoted man of God and faithfully lived by the Ten Commandants. His religious faith was extremely important to him and he enjoyed having the Bible read to him in his later years. Walter was still cracking jokes and laughing until a couple of days before he died.
Walter is survived by: 134 maternal cousins including Carol Jewett of Ft. Bragg, CA, and Bill Rantala of Ukiah, CA, and his paternal cousin-in-law Ethel Murray of Maryland and her children: Robert, John, Marcella, Maggie, Joanie and Maureen, and their families. Walter is also survived by his many “families of the heart,” including Patricia LaFranchi-Smylie, the Bettenelli and LaFranchi clans, Mark Williams, Grace Colbert, Gina Riner, Mary Pat Rowan, Marion Reed, Ernesto Fernandez, Kai Latori, Margaret Cuadra and many, many other devoted friends.
Walter is reunited with his beloved parents, Elmer Joseph and Lillie Murray; his precious sister, Eloys Murray King; his sweetheart of 28 years, Mary LaFranchi; his wife Helen Stenquist Murray; numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. And finally, the love of his life, Dorothy Tucker, who was his sweetheart when he was eight years old and she was seven. During all of his life he never forgot her and their sweet childhood love.
Visitation will be on Friday, Feb., 5, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Fred Young Funeral Home, 428 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. A memorial service will be held Saturday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 429 Terrace Blvd. in Healdsburg, with a reception to follow.
Donations in Walter’s memory can be made to North Sonoma County Services (dedicated to providing homeless services in Healdsburg), 209 Matheson St., Healdsburg, CA 95448 and the Healdsburg Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1646, Healdsburg, CA 95448.
– Gina Riner
Edward Kozel, Sr.
Passion for community support
Edward Kozel passed peacefully at the age of 86 in Healdsburg. He was born in Norfolk, Nebraska, son of John and Emilie Kozel. Ed moved to California in 1939 and settled in the Bay Area. He met his wife Betty in 1953 and eventually moved to Oakland, where they raised their five children. He first visited the Healdsburg area with Betty, enjoying great times at the family cabin on Fitch Mountain, purchased a summer cabin in 1964, and moved permanently to Healdsburg in 1992 after the Oakland Hills fire. Ed served in the U.S. Army in Japan during the Korean War. Upon his return in 1952 he resumed his 47-year career with Oakland National Engraving, starting as a delivery person and eventually becoming owner, CEO and pioneer in the flexographic prepress industry. He will be remembered for his love of fishing, travel and golf, his amazing gardens and his wood and stone carvings. His passion for community support and helping those in need led to the Kozel Stroke Center at Healdsburg Hospital, loving support for St. John’s Parish, and involvement in various Sonoma County organizations that continues to make a lasting difference in so many lives. He is survived by beloved wife Elizabeth (Betty), and his five children: Edward Jr. (Sara), Kim (Tim), Tom (Donna), Peter (Debbie) and Steve (Suzanne). His 13 grandchildren and his first great-grandchild knew him as Papa and they always brought a smile to his face. He was preceded in death by his brother Bill, and survived by his brother Joe and his sister Frances. The family would like to thank the physicians, nurses, and staff at Healdsburg hospital who provided phenomenal care for Ed over many years, and Ramiro Tamayo who lovingly cared for Ed in his final two months. Family and friends are invited to a Rosary and Memorial Mass on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 9:30 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Healdsburg with a reception following. In lieu of flowers, donations in Ed’s memory can be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Program at St. John’s Parish in Healdsburg.
James Enders Reid
James Enders Reid, born on Oct. 2, 1938 in Louisville, Kentucky, died in his sleep on Jan. 17, 2016 at Healdsburg Senior Living in Healdsburg after a long illness. Jim attended Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee. and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virgina. He was drafted in 1961 and was detailed to the military language school in Monterey. Afterwards, he was stationed in Shimya, Alaska as a Russian translator during the Cold War. He and his wife Jan lived in Healdsburg for 42 years before moving to Cloverdale in 2007. Jim was a reporter for the Press Democrat from 1965 to 1991, covering criminal courts. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Jan of Cloverdale; his children, son Kelley (Autumn) of Carlsbad, New Mexico; daughter Jaimie (Brent) Bergeron of Morgan City, Louisiana, son Jim Reid (Jacque) of Petaluma and daughter Leslee Vellutini of Cloverdale. He had 10 grandchildren, Katie, Chip, Reid, Hopi, Dakota, Feather, Grace, Mia, Matthew and Dominic, and one great-granddaughter, Arianna Faith Bergeron. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring. If desired, donations to the Family Justice Center, Catholic Charities, Redwood Gospel Mission or St. Vincent de Paul, all located in Santa Rosa.
Timothy Edward Trask
Beloved by family
According to his family, “Our beloved husband, father, brother, uncle and son, spread his wings and left this world for a better place on January 6, 2016, at home in the loving arms of his wife and son with loving family by his side.” Timothy Edward Trask was a young 49 when he died He was born in San Francisco to Raymond and Barbara Trask. Tim is survived by his wife, Kristina, son Jake and his best friends Buddie and Fenster, his brothers Dave, John (Michelle) and sister Diana Rochelle, along with many nieces and nephews. He was proceeded in death by his father Raymond Trask and mother Barbara Wineland (Millagan, Trask) and brother Ron. His celebration of life party will be held on Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. at the Windsor Grange Hall. Please, no flowers. If you would like to donate please do so at Tim Trask GoFundMe or PO Box 84, Cloverdale CA 95425. “There's nothing more sacred as honor, and nothing so loyal as love.”
Jamie Nicole Ryan
Touched many people
Jamie Nicole Ryan died in her Healdsburg home on Jan. 18, surrounded by family and dear friends. Jamie was born in San Mateo, then grew up and lived in Healdsburg her entire life. She is survived by her father Rich (Carol) Ryan, mother, Sharon (John) Short, brother Chad (Molly) Ryan, stepsister Gina Hocker, stepbrothers Paul (Jacqui) Foppiano, Dean (Kathleen) Short, and Timothy (Lisa) Short. She is also survived by her grandmothers Betty Lewis and Mary Grossi, aunts Diane (Mark) Stirling, Diane (John) Benjamin, Shirley (Robin) Nosecchi, uncles Dan (Lorraine) Lewis, Dennis (Becca) Ryan, Daniel (Agie) Ryan, George (Annette) Grossi, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and her extended family that included Apenisa Boginisoko, Palu Cava, Solei Batiweti, Sereima Moceiwai, as well as Jamie’s faithful cat, Coco. Jamie died less than two months after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. She was a beautiful young woman who touched many people in so many ways as she courageously battled a progressive disabling condition for the last 21 years. This month she celebrated her 40th birthday at a surprise party attended by many family members and friends. The family said: “We are so thankful that she was able to experience a very special birthday with people who loved her and that she loved in return. She will be greatly missed but leaves many wonderful memories for us to cherish.” Friends are invited to attend a memorial celebration of Jamie’s life on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016 at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church located at 10285 Starr Road, Windsor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County, The Humane Society or the charity of your choice.
Stan Thompson, 68, died on Jan. 19, 2016, surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his wife, Diana. They were married for 48 years. He is also survived by his son Darren (Jen); grandchildren Ty and Natalie; his father Earl; his brothers Ron (Trish) and Dennis (Brenda); his sister Cindy (Steve); and his beloved nieces and nephews. His mother Mary predeceased him. His best friend since grade school was Rick Adams. Stan was an Eagle Scout, a veteran and loved fishing on the Rogue River and in Alaska. His best camping buddy was Annie. He also enjoyed poker on Monday nights with the gang. Stan was in the cooling tower business for 44 years. He owned Pacific Cooling Services with friends and partners Bob Crozier and Norm Stuart. The family wishes to thank Dr. Keiser and the staff at St. Joseph Health Fountaingrove. No services are planned.
Mary Louise Rowton
Devoted mother, nana and friend
On Jan. 1, 2016, in the presence of her daughters, Marlene Power and Lalona McDonald, Mary died after 95 years on this earth. She will be laid to rest next to the love of her life, Orville Rowton, who preceded her in death 39 years before. Born on March 11, 1920, Mary spent her entire life in Northern California. She was born in Fort Bragg and attended school in Healdsburg, ultimately graduating from high school in Boonville. She often recalled special memories of spending an entire summer camping along the coastline just north of Fort Bragg with her family. The second eldest of seven children, she spoke fondly of accompanying her older brother Earl to the many North Bay dance halls that scattered the booming logging region in the 1930-1940s. Mary is survived by one brother, Hollis Hadley of Kelseyville. Mary received a scholarship and attending the Bay Area School of Cosmetology in Oakland. She then served in the United States Army during World War II, and ultimately returned home shortly thereafter when she met and fell in love with Orville. They married on Oct. 17, 1948 in Boonville and raised two daughters in the City of Santa Rosa. Mary was a devoted mother, nana and friend to many. She was truly a selfless individual. Upon the death of her husband, she moved into the Larkfield neighborhood where she lived for the rest of her life. Her home became a gathering place for family and friends on a daily basis. She would never let you leave without having a bite to eat or a glass of wine. Mary remained a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion. An adventurous spirit, she looked forward every year to hunting abalone upon the rocky shores of the North Coast, which she did well into her 70s. Her endless energy and crafty mind allowed her to create sewing projects of all kinds, from clothing to quilts. She was also known for her knowledge and love of canning from albacore to zesty beans. She could always be found caring for her beloved garden, which was always impeccable. Mary was always available to share her joys, which she passed down through generations. Mary never missed an important event in her five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren’s lives. The holidays were always more festive with the much anticipated delivery of a tin of Nana’s homemade treats. The world lost a good soul as it entered the New Year of 2016, but Mary left her mark on the hearts of many. As a living example, Mary taught her daughters dedication and devotion by caring for her aging parents who lived well into their 90s. If only we could all learn to devote ourselves to our friends and family in the same manner. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou. Mary will be laid to rest at Santa Rosa Memorial Park Shiloh Annex next to Orville at noon on Jan. 29, followed by a celebration of her life that will be held at Charlie’s Bar and Grill at the Windsor Golf Club. Mary has requested colorful attire for attendance to her celebration. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 48, P. O. Box 762, Santa Rosa, CA 95402.
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